England need more Test match league

Paul Arandale Roar Rookie

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    English rugby league must be concerned with last Sunday’s result in Newcastle, with the Kangaroos dominant and a Kiwi team that will improve.

    The Four Nations tournament is just over a week away with Australia and New Zealand to do battle on neutral ground in the opening game in Warrington, followed by England versus Wales at Leigh. The following week will see rugby league return to Wembley with a double header and no doubt show if England has improved in 12 months when they take on Australia.

    The English side have got a few familiar faces in their provisional squad. Wests Tigers duo Gareth Ellis and Chris Heighington, along with Melbourne Storms Gareth Widdop and Brisbane Broncos boom centre Jack Reed, will add some flare to a youthful English team that has also named veterans Adrian Morley and Jamie Peacock and Canterbury bound James Graham.

    England will head down the Avignon for a warm up match against France this Friday before the Four Nations campaign begins against Wales. But their first real test will be against the Kangaroos at Wembley. The match against France may give the Poms some confidence leading into the tournament but that’s about all it will do.

    Unfortunately for England, they do not get enough Test match rugby league. It is only two years away from England hosting the World Cup and as a rugby league fan I want to see them Wales and France at least competitive in 2013. But I doubt this will happen with the lack of Test matches played by these nations.

    It maybe too late to organised next season due to scheduling but the English, Welsh and French rugby leagues should consider touring the Pacific region while the State of Origin series is on in Australia. England could play New Zealand while France and Wales tour Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Tonga and Cook Islands. These Pacific Island nations are crying out for more top class internationals too.

    This would mean that the Super League takes a mid-season break for two to three weeks. The idea would undoubtedly annoy most British fans, but if Northern Hemisphere nations want to be competitive, they must sacrifice their own competition in a bid to be stronger at international level.

    While the State of Origin series is on in Australia, New Zealand could be hosting England in a three-match Test series or the Kiwis could fly up north or even meet halfway in Dubai or Hong Kong. It is win win for all involved, England get the much needed Test match rugby league while the game is promoted in new areas.

    After last Sunday’s result in Newcastle, I worry that England and Wales will be further behind New Zealand. Lets hope I’m wrong for the good of international rugby league.

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • October 21st 2011 @ 7:21am
      oikee said | October 21st 2011 @ 7:21am | ! Report

      I do fear for Wales. This is not rugby union where Wales can get away with stodgy defence, this is league where the Kangaroos and Kiwis will absoulutely cut them to ribbons. Be like watching touch footy.
      England will fair abit better, i still cant see them really worrying the Kiwis or roos.
      As for playing more tests, forget about it, until the super league and NRL seasons are shortened, this will never happen because their is no window of interest for these teams to tour.
      International rugby league is dead in the water and just a side show, every 4 years we get to enjoy a world cup where the game cleverly has pooled the event so we can all enjoy weaker nations not being hammered by the big 2-3.

      At this rate, in 1000 years, most teams will become competitive.
      And compared to what the RLWC made, (which was 5 million profit from 2008 world cup) compared to RWC which just passed around the 250 million ticket sales, not to mention tv rights and what not,
      Interntational rugby league has a long road ahead of them, and they really have no vision or power to lead the game. Is why i said the other day, we need a billionaire running the game who is not scared to do as he thinks fit to improve international rugby league, wake me up when this happens. 🙂

      • October 21st 2011 @ 11:30am
        King of the Gorgonites said | October 21st 2011 @ 11:30am | ! Report

        “This is not rugby union where Wales can get away with stodgy defence”

        Ummm….. did yo uactually watch Wales play Oikee? Yes they had got defence, but they had sublime attack as well. Did yo usee them tear the irish a new one? they played rugby people want to watch. that is why 65K people crammed the Millenium stadium at 9.00am in the morning.

        Please dont sell the Welsh rugby team short.

        • October 24th 2011 @ 4:34pm
          Jaceman said | October 24th 2011 @ 4:34pm | ! Report

          Wales RL team is full of English players with Welsh grandmothers…

          • October 24th 2011 @ 8:30pm
            Crosscoder said | October 24th 2011 @ 8:30pm | ! Report

            So Welsh players in the squad such as:-
            Andrew Gay(South wales Scorpions)
            Eliot Kear (Crusaders)
            Christianan Roets (Scorpions)
            Lloyd white (Crusaders)
            Gil Dudson(Crusaders)
            Jordan james(crusaders)
            Andy Bracek (crusaders)
            Peter Lupton(crusaders)

            Ben Flower(Crusaders)
            geraint davies(unattached)
            lee Williams(crusaders)
            are all english players with welsh grandmothers.Would love to see your evidence re the above.

    • October 21st 2011 @ 7:25am
      JCVD said | October 21st 2011 @ 7:25am | ! Report

      England have recognised this and hence why they created and England vs expats game this yr. Still the expats beat a near full strength English team. But its a step in the right direction.

      Can’t wait for the world cup. And already got my tickets booked for the 4 nations double header at wembley 🙂

      • October 21st 2011 @ 7:36am
        oikee said | October 21st 2011 @ 7:36am | ! Report

        England did not have the 3 players from oz in the team. So they should be alot better on home soil. Yes, i am looking forward to Wembley, and i just read yeasterday that rugby league is being recognised in Parliment, and Wembley our spiritaul home is going to get a Big Bronzed Rugby League player Statue. ? Who would you put their, Scofield, i still think he was a damm inspiration for the British team, i have fond memories of him trying his heart out to beat the Kangaroos.

        Hanley,? Offiah, ? or both of them black pearls holding Scofield above their heads, now that would be a statue. 🙂

    • October 21st 2011 @ 7:30am
      oikee said | October 21st 2011 @ 7:30am | ! Report

      On a brighter note, this weekend Jamaica and the USA battle out the last game to see who is going to get a spot in the next RLWC in England, 2013.
      This is good news for either team, it will be the first i think, so one will make history and be very happy. I am sort of rooting for Jamaica, but i think the yanks wont let this oppotunity pass. Their pool includes Wales and Cooky Islands i think, if they make it, which will be perfect for them.

      Another game to decide the other spot is little Lebenon, up aginst Italy, i am preying that Lebenon is strong enough to beat Italy, Italy has a pretty good team, Minnechello is in the Italian team, along with Gower i think, so they will be hard to beat, but the feel good story would be little Lebenon making the world cup again, through their own merit this time.

      Yes, i still have hope for international rugby league, but someone needs to take the bull by the horns and say, “enough is enough”.

      • October 24th 2011 @ 4:36pm
        Jaceman said | October 24th 2011 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

        Do they play RL in Italy??

        • October 24th 2011 @ 7:57pm
          Crosscoder said | October 24th 2011 @ 7:57pm | ! Report


          Yes,they do play rl there..

    • October 21st 2011 @ 8:52am
      oikee said | October 21st 2011 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      Also good to see another piece of news from London, the Harliquins league team are changing their name back to London Broncos, yipee 🙂 what another lovely wasted 5 years for league in London.
      Who makes these decisions, oh well, that is league for you.
      And that is at club level, imagine the intelligence at International level. 🙁

    • October 21st 2011 @ 10:17am
      voodoo people said | October 21st 2011 @ 10:17am | ! Report

      Would love to see a Great Britain & Ireland tour of Australia and New Zealand in 2012 (year before world cup) – I know the kiwis are keen for something in 2012. Australia is keen to have no international league before the WC to give players a break.

      So maybe a 3 test series between GB and NZ in 2012 would be best, plus a couple of one off games against an indigenous side, maori side or “Australia A” side.

    • October 21st 2011 @ 10:21am
      Matt said | October 21st 2011 @ 10:21am | ! Report

      Put bluntly, England need:

      A) More players in the NRL
      B) More matches against the Kangaroos.

      At present the ESL doesn’t offer their athletes the same level of intensity as the NRL. It’s no surprise that the rise of the Kiwis has coincided with increasing numbers of NZ players in the NRL. England will continue to suffer unless they can get more of their players participating in a higher level of competition.

      The trend of Englishmen in the NRL will start to change with more money being introduced to that competition (with the upcoming TV rights inevitably being a reasonable increase on the current figures, not sure about the $1B though personally). So to capatalise on this trend the England team then needs to play more matches against the Aussies to hone their skill and increase their team cohesion.

      The one big benefit the Kangaroos have at present is that most of them play together for the Maroons in SoO, hence their combinations in the one of test matches.

      All of this does put the ESL in a precarious position though. What happens if the England team is to do well and more stars do make the move to faraway Australia? You’ll have the best of the british game playing during awkward time slots, with next to no TV coverage in the UK as they chase a better level of competition and more money.

      Will ESL sponsors and fans still want to get behind a competition that is effectively a breeding ground for the NRL clubs to poach from? And will the Independent Commision in Australia care how many UK based players are brought over to boost ratings for the flagship NRL comp?

      It could well be that what is required to make the England team more successful is also what will start to choke the life from the ESL…

      • October 21st 2011 @ 1:34pm
        Ken said | October 21st 2011 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        In that case screw the England team, a successful ESL has greater importance than a more consistently competitive English team.

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